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The Unhooked Podcast

The Unhooked Podcast

By Annie Highwater
True stories and lessons learned from those still standing through adversity and fiery trials. Hosted by Recovery Writer Annie Highwater, Author of books "Unhooked", and "Unbroken." Created for sharing the lives of those who have struggled with (or have been adjacent to), addiction, alcoholism, codependency, crisis and chaos.

Names, and minor details have been changed to preserve anonymity, but the experiences are real, raw and true. The purpose of this podcast is to let you know you're NOT alone. The world falls apart for everyone at some point, but ANYONE can recover and rise.
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Recovery story and what's to come 2022!
A review of my personal recovery journey and some of what's to come! The “Unhooked Podcast” can also be heard on Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found.   Check it out! 👇
February 17, 2022
Mom to Mom, meet KL Wells and hear her story!
In this new episode of The Unhooked Podcast we meet KL Wells! KL is a community leader, influential speak and a Mother.  For more than 20 years she collaborated with hundreds of non-profit organizations, effectively leading iniatives with CEOs, senior executives, board directors, trustees, and philanthropists that have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars to ignite organizational and community-wide change. She recently changesd the course of her career where her mission for helping families and parents of addicted loved ones has inspired her to launch VoiceInCourage, which is an emerging community that provides instrumental resources for individuals who need to heal, connect and grow during some of the most challenging times of their lives. Listen in as KL Wells openly shares her journey and the perspective that have given her so much comfort and hope while navigating a situation near and dear to my own heart—the struggles of an addicted child. You connect with KL Wells at The “Unhooked Podcast” can also be heard on Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found.   Check it out! 👇
October 21, 2021
Feelings of Jealousy and Envy
This episode of “The Unhooked Podcast” 🥊 takes a look at: “Feelings of Jealousy and envy.”  Just to keep it can sometimes be hard to see others living their BEST lives, seeing pictures of holidays, weddings, graduations, social media perfection (or running into them in the grocery store as we are dying on the inside), when we are going through one of our WORST seasons of life. What do we do when it hurts to see and wish others well, because our lives seem to be on hold?   Or...even disastrous.    When our kids, partner, or family are off running wild and involved in scary behaviors, when all we want is "normal?" It's common to feel those pangs of jealousy and embarrassment from time to time—listen in as I personally relate!  The “Unhooked Podcast” can also be heard on Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found.   Check it out! 👇
June 15, 2021
Shadow Beliefs, Behavior Patterns and Schemas
“The Unhooked Podcast” 🥊 In this episode of the Unhooked Podcast, the topic is: “Shadow Beliefs, Patterns and Schemas.”  Those inner, hidden, underlying belief patterns that lead us back to the same old behaviors, and the same old pain. Can we heal them?  Listen in to hear knowledge shared from the experts and the rooms of recovery!  The Unhooked Podcast can also be heard on Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found.   Check it out! 👇
June 08, 2021
Why you shouldn't give up!
The Unhooked Podcast 🥊  “Why you should never give up!”  These last 18 months have been some of the most brutal days for my family, to be honest I thought about throwing in the towel more than a few times.  Listen in as I share why it was important that I not give up - and why it matters that you don't either!  The Unhooked Podcast can also be heard on Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found. Check it out! 👇
June 01, 2021
Surviving a Wilderness Season
The Unhooked Podcast 🥊 “Surviving the wilderness” There are seasons of life that simply knock the breath out of us. If you (or someone you know) are dealing with adversity, crisis, chaos and trauma...this episode of the Unhooked Podcast might be helpful. Tips for managing our way through the hardest times of life align well with survival skills we use to guide us through the wilderness! Check out this episode of "The Unhooked Podcast" about the benefits of opening the door to your heart to get it out, and when it's wise to hold our peace and sit on our "stuff." "The Unhooked Podcast" can be heard using this Anchor link, or on other platforms such as Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found. Check it out! 👇
May 25, 2021
How Many Friends Have Deleted You lately?
“The Unhooked Podcast” 🥊 • How many friends have deleted you lately? In this short episode we take a look at applying recovery principles to the way people handle differences of beliefs and opinions these days. (Note: for the sake of clarity, when it comes to keeping in mind that you could be wrong when you go at someone - regarding the part about the message I received in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, it's interesting that the point this person felt she needed to make ended up being incorrect.  She came out of no where, furious, shaming and finger wagging...only to be inaccurate.) Can we take a breath before we write someone off (or cuss them out) about how they view things?   Listen in and please email your thoughts to: Check it out!
May 18, 2021
Don't Talk, Don't Trust, Don't Feel
“The Unhooked Podcast” 🥊 “Don't Talk, Don't Trust, Don't Feel,” those are the unspoken rules for families with communication problems. Listen to this episode of "The Unhooked Podcast" for examples, experiences and counsel from the rooms when it comes to not being able to communicate with family members, or those we are in relationship with. "The Unhooked Podcast" can be heard using this Anchor link, or on other platforms such as Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found. Check it out!
May 11, 2021
Unending Arguments
“The Unhooked Podcast” 🥊 Unending Arguments You know those conflicts that spring up but never seem to have an end?  The bottom-less pit kind of arguments, they return frequently and the awkward and sometimes even heated feelings rise up anytime we speak of the subject, or cross paths with anyone involved... Listen in  to this episode of the "Unhooked Podcast" to hear wisdom from the rooms when it comes to dealing with people who push our buttons! "The Unhooked Podcast" can be heard using this Anchor link, or on other platforms such as Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found. Check it out!
May 04, 2021
Everyone Needs Support
“The Unhooked Podcast” 🥊 “Everyone Needs Support” We all need support, every last one of us.  No one gets it right all the time and none of us can handle the heavy things on our own.   Even animals and birds, even trees need support!   Our pets often know exactly how to support us. Listen in to this brief episode of the "The Unhooked Podcast" to hear about the benefits of support from family, friends and rooms we can trust. "The Unhooked Podcast" can be heard using this Anchor link, or on other platforms such as Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found. Check it out! 👇
April 27, 2021
"Woe is Me" (how to manage the Eyeores in your life with wisdom and healthy kindness.)
We have all crossed paths with someone who sees everything as worst case scenario...  There's always a crisis, an upset, a down side and a problem; and usually even a problem with the solution to the problem! Listen in to this quick hitter episode of the Unhooked Podcast, with input from the rooms when it comes to dealing with those who constantly call with chronic problems, and never ending bad news. "The Unhooked Podcast" can be heard using this Anchor link, or on other platforms such as Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found. Check it out!
April 20, 2021
What do I do when drama and chaos ERUPT??!!
Drama and chaos happen, they seem to come in cycles and waves.  Listen to this episode of "The Unhooked Podcast" for a few quick, relatable points about chaos and drama erupting. Hear about the "Drama Triangle" and listen to a few points about High Conflict Personalities, which we may all cross paths with (or even be ourselves) from time to time. The good news is - we don't HAVE to get swept up in every tornado of chaos, or accept every invitation to drama! "The Unhooked Podcast" can be heard using this Anchor link, or on other platforms such as Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found. Check it out!
April 13, 2021
Talking about our "stuff," what good does it do?
This Unhooked episode covers thoughts about unloading, or venting - versus bottling issues, worries, feelings and struggles up inside us.  (Our dysfunction...our "junk.") One thing I know, feelings need oxygen to dissipate, once they hit the air healing can begin.   It doesn't mean unload to every checkout clerk or radio show, some things we need to work through before we share them...and it's definitely crucial to be careful to reveal our treasured personal information to people who are SAFE to tell sensitive things to. One of my favorite examples of releasing what's within is the story of a small tribe a missionary lived with' they'd been through intense suffering and misery, yet were known to be the most friendly, positive, happiest group of people in their area.  Listen to find out why! Check out this episode of "The Unhooked Podcast" about the benefits of opening the door to your heart to get it out, and when it's wise to hold our peace and sit on our "stuff." "The Unhooked Podcast" can be heard using this Anchor link, or on other platforms such as Itunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found.   Check it out!
April 06, 2021
10 Types of Dysfunctional thinking
When it comes to dysfunctional thinking, sometimes we aren't even aware that our thoughts are calling the shots.  No one is immune, we can all fall into unhealthy patterns, I personally have definitely tried each of them on for size! Listen to this "Unhooked Podcast" and hear how we can sometimes veer into wrong thinking in the midst of struggle. The Unhooked Podcast can also be found on Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music and wherever most podcasts can be downloaded. Check it out!
March 30, 2021
How to know if you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol...and the Sinclair Method
There is a difference between alcoholism and alcohol use disorder.  From having a chronic need or nagging cravings and obsessive dysfunction such as binge drinking and/or poor choices.   It's good to stop and check yourself now and then to see if there might be some changes necessary in order to be as healthy as possible and that includes our relationship with alcohol (even when it comes to fun, acceptable, social drinking). Check out this episode of the Unhooked Podcast and ask yourself some of the questions that might be indicators that it's time to take a break, or make a change. Or pass it along to someone who might benefit from knowing the specific signs of struggle. This episode concludes with information about the Sinclair Method, an option of alcohol treatment for those with a severe struggle, or anyone who feels unable to stop cold turkey.  The Sinclair Method is gradual and gentle, with lots of support and solutions...and an amazing success rate for those hoping to achieve sobriety.   (The Sinclair Method can be used for alcohol treatment - as well as for help and relief from opiate dependency.) Listen in, check it out, pass it on! The Unhooked Podcast can also be found on Itunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found.  Check it out!
March 25, 2021
Have a Healthy Amends Process
In this episode of the Unhooked Podcast, the subject is having a healthy amends process.   Having an intentional process means we can live free of guilt and regret, as well as freedom from taking ownership for the moods, attitudes and rudeness of others! Listen in, check it out, pass it on! The Unhooked Podcast can also be found on Itunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, Stitcher and wherever most podcasts can be found.  Check it out!
March 23, 2021
What do I do when I am OVERWHELMED by fear?
In this quick episode, I share some direction I have been given for those times of breathtaking, floor walking, gut-wrenching fear when it comes to the health, safety and well-being of a son, daughter or other loved one.   The Unhooked Podcast is also available on Spotify, Itunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Overcast and where most podcasts can be heard. Listen in and check it out! 
March 16, 2021
New Season
Spring is coming and with that, a new season of the Unhooked Podcast!  Listen to this brief Intro for what's to come!
March 16, 2021
Jessica Pt. 2
Back again for Part ii with a friend from the rooms!  Continuing... Jessica shares openly; she doesn't pull punches, even when it comes to the notion that her "own default is crazy."  I get it!  Trust me.  I love listening to her in the rooms.  Hearing, "I'm Jessica..." also signals me to sit up and listen because she is about to share.  I know she will describe something wild, hard, fearful or painful that she has been through, and then land that plane with self-discovery, ownership and ultimately—victory.  Jessica is proof positive that there is just something about those rooms...that works (if you work it).  Listen in to the first half of her story as Jessica brings the recovery!  The Unhooked Podcast can also be found on Itunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast and wherever most podcasts can be found.  Check it out!
December 03, 2020
Jessica Pt. 1
Back again with a friend from the rooms!  Jessica shares openly...she doesn't pull punches, even when it comes to the notion that her "own default is crazy."  I get it!  Trust me.  I love listening to her in the rooms.  Hearing, "I'm Jessica..." also signals me to sit up and listen because she is about to share.  I know she will describe something wild, hard, fearful or painful that she has been through, and then land that plane with self-discovery, ownership and ultimately—victory.  Jessica is proof positive that there is just something about those rooms...that works (if you work it).  Listen in to the first half of her story as Jessica brings the recovery!  The Unhooked Podcast can also be found on Itunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast and wherever most podcasts can be found.  Check it out! 
November 18, 2020
Scott From the Rooms Pt. 2
Bouncing back after a cruel, cruel summer with a brand new pod!  Part II of the Unhooked conversation is with Scott, a dear friend from the Nar Anon Rooms of Recovery.  Scott's story has twists and turns that anyone can relate to.  From being introduced to his Father later in life, and finding out his Dad had been signed to play professional baseball, spent decades jumping on trains and being homeless, to finding his way into the rooms of recovery and changing lives him...  Onto Scott's marriage that led him through the heartache and turmoil of a spouse addicted to powerful prescriptions...  To years later seeing the disease show up in his beautiful, young son. Scott dove into recovery and absorbed the healing in ways that have carried him through the valley of the shadow of death.  He is a wonderful example of beauty for ashes, strength, kindness and the fine people we find in the rooms.   Tune in to Unhooked to hear the second half of Scott's incredible story!
November 05, 2020
Scott From the Rooms Pt. 1
Bouncing back after a cruel, cruel summer with a brand new pod! This Unhooked conversation is with Scott, a dear friend from the Nar Anon Rooms of Recovery. Scott's story has twists and turns that anyone can relate to.  From being introduced to his Father later in life, and finding out his Dad had been signed to play professional baseball, spent decades jumping on trains and being homeless, to finding his way into the rooms of recovery and changing lives around him... Onto Scott's marriage that led him through the heartache and turmoil of a spouse addicted to powerful prescriptions... To years later seeing the disease show up in his beautiful, young son. Scott dove into recovery and absorbed the healing in ways that have carried him through the valley of the shadow of death.  He is a wonderful example of beauty for ashes, strength, kindness and the fine people we find in the rooms.   Tune in to Unhooked to hear the first half of Scott's incredible story!
October 29, 2020
Joseph, a Friend from Twitter
In this episode of the Unhooked Podcast, I discuss all things on the road to awakening, awareness and healing with my Twitter friend Joseph G. of Humble U Media and the Humble U Podcast. Joseph, a former TV Meteorologist, gives an eye opening description of what it's like to work in that drama driven atmosphere and the tools he discovered as he took a deep "inner dive" into who he is and what he wants to do with his life .   Listen in and check him out!   Twitter: @humbleuhost
July 09, 2020
The Stuck Stops Here! Podcast Host Tami Atman
In this episode, I had the privilege of speaking with the Host of a Podcast I regularly listen to, and learn from. Tami Atwood, Host and Creator of the Podcast, "The Stuck Stops Here," about dealing with toxic family has done the deep, often excruciating work to analyze herself, her pathologies and to heal her life. She is not a therapist, clinician or life-coach…she is simply someone who faced her life and found a way to transform her wounds into wisdom. As her webpage page describes it: “How I broke the cycle of generational dysfunction, one Aha moment at a time.” Many times I refer to my recovery journey as a "Patchwork Process,"  listen in to Tami share her own process of healing that was custom built to fit her life as well.   Whatever it takes to heal - we all have work to do!  
June 25, 2020
When Things are Stressful and Strange, Applying Recovery with Ruth and Beau
We are definitely living in trying, unpredictable times!    This week on the Unhooked Podcast, friends Ruth and Beau return and bring the recovery for times that are strange, stressful and uncertain.  If you are feeling intense pressure, and feeling alone in it...listen in to the concepts of recovery that we have found comforting and helpful in trying times.  The Unhooked Podcast can also be downloaded on Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music and wherever most podcasts can be heard.  
June 11, 2020
Sean, Recovering Husband and Family Member
One of my favorite people this week, Sean from the rooms I personally attend.  Sean, often called the "Tea Guy" for his masterful way of finding peace when chaos hits, brings the recovery and stories that are all too relatable in this episode of the Unhooked Podcast.    Listen in as he describes the journey of his young family!
May 28, 2020
Cara - Recovering Family Member, Writer and Creator of "My Girlfriend Voice"
Today’s conversation is with a dear friend, someone I connected with last year at an event I’m obsessed with (Heart of a Warrior Woman).  When it comes to having a heart for an addicted son or daughter - she gets it.  Cara recently shared her story of being painfully affected by the addiction of her son, in an article I posted on my Recovery Writer Facebook page, (You can read it here:  She is easily recognized as someone that the term “Wounded Healer” applies to and has moved through the pain and adversity within her family, to find peace and strength in the midst of harsh circumstances.  Nothing I respect more!  Cara is the creator if a unique webpage called “My Girlfriend Voice,” check her out! Listen in and check her out!  
May 14, 2020
Today’s "Unhooked" conversation is with someone I connected with over social media, which I love.  She is someone who gets it.  Kylie generously shares her story of being deeply affected by addiction with more than one family member (like many of us), which includes the death of her Mother.   As I said, she gets it and she is open about it.  We need more like her!  People who share their experience help us all find comfort in the fact that we are not alone. To quote her from her page, Addicts Ripple... "Everyone wants to feel like they relate to someone.   Unless you have lived this life, or suffered a loss of this magnitude you won't understand it." That is speaking my language, our language.   It is SO true.  Which is why support is life saving, in my opinion.  Listen in as Kylie and I discuss the effects on your own personality when it comes to loving someone who has an addiction; from becoming an over-analyzer, to repeating relationship conflict within friendships...she shares a similar journey of realization and the patchwork process of healing and recovering from patterns of dysfunction.  You can find Kylie on Facebook as well as her personal page : Listen in and check her out!
April 09, 2020
Janelle Explains the Healing Process of IASIS
Greek word "IASIS" meaning: Healing.  There are many types, paths and processes when it comes to healing and recovery.   Recently, I have become curious about the process and healing effects of a treatment called, IASIS.   So I thought I would record a podcast as I learn about it myself!    Janelle, a recovering family member as well as a trained and certified IASIS practitioner returns to the podcast to educate us and answer questions, as well as describe who Micro Current Neuro Feedback might be a helpful for.  Listen in as she shares stories and successes ranging from addiction, PTSD, anxiety to autism,  We find it to be fascinating stuff!  I even discovered a practitioner opening in my hometown.  
February 20, 2020
Dr. Nicole Labor talks the Neurobiology of Addiction 101
This Unhooked conversation is with Dr. Nicole Labor, who is board certified in both family medicine and addiction medicine.    She is currently the medical director at OneEighty, a treatment center that offers inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency and behavioral health services in Wooster, OH. She is also the director of the addiction medicine Fellowship for Summa. Dr. Labor is also medical director for Interval Brotherhood home as well as the EsperTreatment Center in Erie, PA.  In recovery herself since 2005, Her Addiction Assassin Facebook page says she is the; Addiction Medicine Physician, spiritual gangster, Superhero ninja warrior pirate, ringmaster of the shit show.   First created to educate other physicians and medical professionals, Dr. Labor's lectures are something I post regularly (Here's a great one!,   Dr. Labor has also written a fantastic book that I would say, is the best I have read when it comes to understanding chemicals and addiction behavior.  "The Addictoholic Deconstructed" is a book I personally recommend that EVERYONE read, whether you've been addicted, loved someone who has struggled  with addiction, or just need to know more (we ALL need to know more, check it out!).  Listen in as Dr. Labor explains some profound points and reveals information in such a simple way that we all can come to a new understanding.   Addiction is described as "a hole in the soul through which the cold wind blows." Understanding opens the way for solutions.    You can find Dr. Nicole Labor on her Addiction Assassin Facebook page, or at the website:
February 06, 2020
Kathleen Cochrun - Heart of a Warrior Woman
Today's conversation is with an incredible woman, whose posts I have followed for some time now.  I had the privilege of meeting her this past year at an AMAZING retreat in Santa Barbara, California.  A retreat that she is the creator of, called Heart of a Warrior Woman...  What works for my family may not be what works for yours, and vice versa - yet, regardless of the approach or process, we are all in this together.  The support, understanding, kindness and compassion we show one another as family's impacted by addiction is EVERYTHING that matters. In short, Kathleen Cochran has been through many of the struggle all of us have walked the floors trying to figure out.  She has remained by her daughter’s side through her battle with substance use disorder. Their sixteen-year path has included over 20  rehabs, IOPs, sober livings, a therapeutic boarding school and a partridge in a pear tree.  After being labeled an “enabler” and “codependent”, then directed to allow her daughter to hit rock bottom, Kathleen became determined to find a more compassionate approach. She researched and read, devouring hundreds of books on a wide range of approaches and tools. She aligns with the practice of harm reduction, to keep our children alive until they can find their way to recovery and CRAFT, as a more effective approach to communicate and encourage sobriety.  Kathleen is passionate about helping other mothers. She shares her experience and knowledge to lessen the angst of their journeys. Kathleen and partner Allyson Abraam together are creating a community where true sisterhood can flourish. Where women can find the knowledge, strength, joy, and compassion that is needed to endure the journey of loving their children through addiction at a retreat (I have personally attended and found to be healing and wonderful) called “Heart of a Warrior Woman.”  Listen in as she tells her story and gives wisdom and insight into the path no one would choose for their family, but together we are rising strong from.  Kathleen can be found on Facebook, Instagram and by logging onto Listen in and check her out! 
January 30, 2020
Allyson Aabram
I met this amazing woman on a retreat in Santa Barbara, California and felt an instant warmth and connection. I have been eager to have her on the podcast...we discuss the effects of addiction on the family, in particular as it impacts the heart of a Mother.  Allyson describes her journey to acceptance as her son has been unbelievably incarcerated as the result of an overdose.   She shares her family's situation in a very raw, real yet hopeful way with me in this conversation.   Allyson offers so much hope and insight for women struggling adjacent to a son or daughter's addiction.  She gets it!   Years of hiding her son’s problematic drug use left Allyson feeling isolated.  She captured her secret life in a blog called "What is Behind My facade?" that was shared by Arianna Huffington.   The overwhelming support empowered her to continue writing. She has been a guest writer on HuffPost, Addiction Unscripted, Love What Matters and other sites. Allyson’s perspective and writing shifted after she attended the National Harm Reduction Conference in 2016. Instead of punishing her son’s addiction, she focused on mitigating its damage.  She became aware of the stigmas and injustices endured by those fighting for sobriety, and motivated to expose them. As traumatic experiences became the norm (something anyone affected by this disease can relate to), Allyson was compelled to find personal growth in the circumstances.     She wished for a culture that encouraged women to move beyond the negativity and find purpose. A true introvert,  Allyson found unexpected joy in attending the first Warrior Women’s Retreat in May of 2018. The sheer volume of mothers in need of connectivity inspired her to help grow the event into Mecca.    You can connect with Allyson @  listen in to the podcast and check her out!!  Allyson's Huffpost Blog:
January 16, 2020
Safe Station, the Firehouse saving lives Pt. 2
Back for Part II with Whitehall Division of Fire's Asst. Chief Chris Menapace, joined by Community Paramedic Randy Jones, this conversation was recorded from the firehouse. Listen in as these two first responders and who I like to call "heroes in the work of the addiction epidemic" share stories from the SAFE Station; where anyone needing relief and recovery is welcome through the doors without fear of arrest, rejection or judgment.
December 26, 2019
Safe Station, the Firehouse saving lives Pt. 1
Back again with Whitehall Division of Fire's Asst. Chief Chris Menapace, joined by Community Paramedic Randy Jones, this conversation was recorded from the firehouse. Listen in as these two first responders and who I like to call "heroes in the work of the addiction epidemic" share stories from the SAFE Station; where anyone needing relief and recovery is welcome through the doors without fear of arrest, rejection or judgment.
December 19, 2019
Joan, a conversation from the sidelines
"The Unhooked Podcast" This week's conversation is with Joan, a fellow Mom from the rooms.  Joan has years of experience under her belt when it comes to healing the effects of family addiction, alcoholism and dysfunctional religious beliefs. A lot heals in the process of recovering - including your perception of yourself, along with the types of friends you remain close to, or see the need to distance yourself from. Listen in as Joan shares her story regarding her marriage, navigating the addiction struggles with her daughter, as well as relearning how to view things from a non-condemning perspective in order to have peace. Check it out! 💕
October 31, 2019
What is Peer Support? With Thrive CEO Brian Bailys
Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. It commonly refers to an initiative consisting of trained supporters, and can take a number of forms such as peer mentoring, reflective listening, or counseling.  Having come to understand the value of supportive peers for myself, I'm excited to introduce the topic of Peer Support as it relates to recovery and emotional and mental health and healing, with Thrive Peer Support CEO, Brian Bailys. Brian shares his own recovery success story and resulting passion for offering support and encouragement for others with what began as a mobile peer support app and has spread to face to face as well as emergency room settings.  Listen in to hear Brian's journey and the incredible work peers are doing for one another in Ohio and all across the nation! Check out Thrive here!
October 25, 2019
Regan (daughter of Janelle, featured on the last week's podcast), shares her personal story and inside view of addiction and recovery.  At just 19 years old, Regan has experienced already the nightmare of addiction and relapse, as well as the relief of recovery.  She describes the impact substance use has had on not only her own life, but upon the lives of those closest to her.  As her family suffered on the sideline, having to make the excruciating decision to allow her to go live her life, her way - Regan quickly realized that it was not the life for her, and that those who loved her most were were waiting to welcome her home.   As she continues the work to recover and move onward, Regan shares her story of falling into the trap of drug use to soothe personal struggles, which led to heartbreaking separation from her family, and even a "Britney Spears head shaving moment."    This beautiful young woman is a brave example of how not only are substances readily available to young people - but recovery is an incredible design for life out of the depths of it.  Listen in to hear Regan's story of reality, recovery and HOPE! 
October 17, 2019
Janelle, a Mom in recovery
In this episode, we hear the story of a Mom who like so many in this epidemic - becomes desperate and frantic after discovering her young daughter's substance use and eventual struggle with addiction.   Janelle shares her fight for her daughter's life. Listen as she describes her own personal awakening and revelation of the need for education, support and recovery for herself in the midst of her daughter's spiral into addiction while still in high school, as well as the relief of finding a treatment program that was the best fit for their family.    Janelle's process of recovering has been like many of ours; the shock and horror of addiction coming for a much loved child, leading to a deep dive into introspective truth and transformation.    On this side of the situation, Janelle shares the passion with many of us who share our family's success story in order help lead hope to traumatized family members going through the nightmare of a son, daughter or other loved one falling into addiction, by starting a PALs support group, the first one in a 50 mile radius of her Houston suburb.  Addiction is a crisis I would wish on no family.  However, what the process of recovery does within a family is the gift I'd love every household to experience.  For more information about the process of IASIS mentioned in this podcast, check out:
October 10, 2019
My Recovery; sharing in a meeting...
If it wasn't for a process of recovery, and finding my way into some amazing rooms - I would still be a broken, fearful mess.  Most likely I'd still searching for that one answer or event to finally heal my life.  With my emotional well-being at the mercy of people and situations outside of myself, which is a great way to live a miserable life!    This episode was recorded in a family support group meeting, in the same room where I found hope, acceptance, connection, love, encouragement and confidence to face my insecurities and go to work on my own dysfunction.     Beginning with a bit of our backstory, to examples of family frustrations, to where we are now - the trajectory of my life has had many twists and turns.  Where we are now is just about as far as you can get from where we used to be!  From my relationship with my family, Mother, son and with rude people!  Many situations included in my 2nd book, "Unbroken, Navigating the Madness of Family Addiction, Alcoholism, Dysfunction and Heartache."   While It's impossible to cover everything in a share, I wanted to hit the highlights and share what recovery has taught me, given me, and what I'm doing with it now.   What an honor to share more of my recovery story with some of my most favorite people from the rooms of recovery and support.    If you or someone you know are affected by a loved one's addiction, alcoholism - please find a meeting along with safe, healthy, compassionate support, it'll alter the course of your life! Peace is possible!  Still learning,  Annie  Author of books: Unhooked, and Unbroken, Navigating the Madness of Family Dysfunction, Addiction, Alcoholism and Heartache  For information, comfort, encouragement and support:  Codependents Anonymous Parent Support – TAPU Family Recovery Support
October 03, 2019
"Not Far From Me"
In this conversation, Dr. Daniel Skinner and Berkeley Franz open up the amazing book written from the front-lines of the opioid epidemic from all over the state of Ohio.    "Not Far From Me" is published by the Ohio State University Press and is a beautiful collaboration of stories ranging from first responders, to poets and prison cells, to grieving family members, librarians, school teachers and administrators and even a chapter written by me!  This book paints a portrait of families and communities not only ravaged by addiction - but many times more open and stronger as a result of the great suffering the epidemic has caused.  Listen in to the heartfelt experiences of those from all over Ohio, the heart of it all;  where the opioid epidemic that has swept the nation not only has many of its roots, but also from where hope, strength and recovery continue to rise.  You can find information about this book and its contributors at: as well as on Twitter @OhioOpiods 
September 26, 2019
Dr. Donna Marks
I have been familiar for the work of Dr. Donna Marks for a while now, through the connection with her incredible daughter Hanna. I spoke with them on Recovery Radio a couple of years ago and was profoundly impressed.  Donna Marks has been a licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor in private practice in Palm Beach County for over 30 years. Dr. Marks specializes in working with individuals who have been unable to break unwanted patterns of behavior by working through the internal obstructions that stand in the way of achieving one’s life goals.  She believes that the combined methods of psychoanalysis and spirituality are a powerful method to not only heal the past and find freedom, but to also obtain meaning from all of those life events—the essential requirements for lasting change and a promising future.  Listen in as Dr. Marks talks about her background, beginning as a single Mother, waitressing to pay the bills...all the way through to Grad School and a  private practice where she incorporates healing concepts of truth, recovery and a Course in Miracles.  I could not help but open up some of my own areas of need when speaking with her!   You can find Dr. Donna at:
September 19, 2019
Katie, a Mother's Addiction Journey
I have followed the work of this fellow Mom in Recovery for a while now.  Having personally not had a substance struggle of her own, but being a person in long term recovery from the impact of having a loved one go through that hell, “A Mother’s Addiction Journey"  Creator Katie Donovan has spent over the last 20 years in the marketing, events and communications industry. After experiencing the addiction journey with her daughter Brittany, Katie left her marketing career, in order to focus on family recovery. Similar to the trajectory my own family life has taken, Katie has now dedicated her life to those that are affected by substance use disorder, coaching families through the chaos of their loved ones addiction, and a sought out expert for stigma reduction training to law enforcement, first responders, hospitals and workplace wellness. Katie sits on several local and national boards, has been invited to congressional hearings, testified in front of the FDA, and a national speaker on addiction. Katie is also one of the leading forces behind the creation of Hope Not Handcuffs in which she was awarded the PAARI Leadership award for her advocacy work, in addition to a Global Humanitarian Award. Katie is a professionally trained and certified family recovery coach, interventionist as well as an executive life coach.  She has been a featured author/blogger for national advocacy groups in addition to being interviewed on Fox, ABC, NBC, Fox Sports and featured in the December 2018 issue of Time/Money Magazine. Katie and her daughter Brittany also co-founded a blog, where they dig deep about their journey at, which reached over a million views and seen in 146 countries within 30 days of its inception and has been syndicated in over 30 publications, including USA Today and Babble by Disney. Katie lives with her husband John, and their youngest daughter Brooke in Macomb Twp, MI.   Our side of the house needs to be a part of the solution and work on a recovery process of our own, listen in as Katie shares her family's story and we swap personal experiences of recovery and even moments when we both recount LOSING IT over something unrelated in the wake of the stress. You can find Katie and Brittany at:
September 12, 2019
Author, Professor and person in recovery - Gigi Langer
"A Higher Power for me just needs to be a Force greater than my fears..."   I found that comment, among many others in this conversation to be deeply revelational.    I personally love Writers and Authors, especially those who speak a language of recovery, in this Unhooked conversation I met with Author Gigi Langer.  Gigi holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education and an MA in Psychology, both from Stanford University. As a professor, she won several awards for her teaching, and (as Georgea M. Langer) wrote four books for educators as well as hundreds of articles on professional growth.  As a person in recovery, Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years!  Through speeches, retreats, and workshops, she helps thousands of people improve their lives at home and at work.   Listen in as she tells her journey and hits the high notes on so many recovery related issues, I learn something from her every time she posts, shares, writes and now speaks on this week's podcast! You can find Gigi at  check her out!
September 05, 2019
Heartland High - the new face of recovery and private school!
I recently had the honor of sitting with the staff of Ohio's new first recovery school - Heartland High School! A hybrid of private school and all things recovery, Heartland is Ohio’s first recovery school and I could not be more excited to give listeners an inside view.  Heartland High school is pioneering new ground and making history, using grace, kindness, compassion, wisdom and all things recovery. Listen in as Heartland School Director Dr. Paige Stewart and Student Engagement Coordinator Jennifer Belemu share their personal experiences as well as professional goals for Heartland High, where they believe in a system of love, not legalism.  Heartland leads with a pulse of grace-based learning that gives honor , dignity and confidence to its students in order to send them off into adulthood THRIVING. Love this school!  Check them out:
August 29, 2019
Recovery - also needed for the Parents and Family Members of an Addicted Loved One!!
In this week's episode I sat down Brenda Stewart, founder of The Addict's Parents United and the Mother of two adult sons who have suffered with substance use and addiction.  Together we cover the effects on the family members, in particular the parents of a son or daughter afflicted with an addiction or alcohol problem.        Our side of the house can be crazier and become as sick (if not sicker) as the one struggling with chemically fueled behavior. And we are not usually even high.  Those in the peripheral get triggered, suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, stress induced physical conditions and so on.  Addiction effects the health of EVERYONE.  Also - stress led both of us to experience panic attacks.  Brenda and I discuss that subject and share coping methods.  Because those are the WORST!  We read questions from parents and family members, including how to manage when a son or daughter says vicious things or makes threats for money, how to manage the stress, fear and sadness, and what might someone say to a friend or family member who has an addicted son or daughter.   We both agree on one thing for sure - families DO recover!  But it's a group effort.    Listen in for this information and HOPE filled conversation!   Brenda's organization The Addicts Parents United can be found on Facebook and at  Check it out!
June 06, 2019
"To the Moon and Back" Author Lisa Kohn
This week's conversation covers an area that has required intense recovery work for me personally, recovering from an extremist religious childhood.  "To the Moon and Back" Author Lisa Kohn (whose NYC accent I love), openly shares her personal recovery story which includes a childhood divided between a strict religious cult upbringing with her mother, and a "no rules apply" household with her father. I found it compelling how Lisa shares the evolution of awakening from extreme religious beliefs that are their own subculture, in a real, raw way.  She shares her journey out of addiction and her path of "accidentally" finding the rooms in which she found support, comfort and healing.  Listen in as she shares her fascinating life! You can find Lisa at    or on social media as @lisakohnwrites for both Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook:   Check her out!
May 30, 2019
Virginia, recovering family member. Affected family members need to recover!
This week's conversation is an important one to me - the need for the family members who love someone struggling with addiction, or alcoholism to recover themselves. If you have lived very long at all, you most likely have something to recover from. Recovery, addiction and dependency are not always about chemicals; many who are affected by someones substance use find themselves drunk on fear, sadness, drama, and strung out on on worry, obsession, control, panic and codependency. We ALL have work to do! Listen in as Virginia, whose husband has battled addiction, shares how his struggles illuminated her own need for a recovery process. SO IMPORTANT!! She brings the recovery this week, tells her unique story and reveals her own "patchwork" recovery process which is not unlike my own. What might work for one family, may not be what it takes for another. There is no one-size-fits all when it comes to improving your life and healing family patterns.  I believe in the process of healing whether it's 12-step, support rooms, therapy, DBT, EMDR, books, podcasts, prayer, meditation, long walks through nature...or all of the above!     Lots of hope, encouragement, information and ideas in this week's episode! You can find Virginia on Facebook:  and Instagram: @mrs._addict 
May 02, 2019
CATCH Court's Hannah Estabrook
This week's conversation delves into the dark topic of sexual trafficking.   Ohio ranks 4th in the nation for sexual trafficking.  Trauma and addiction lurk behind each story.   In 2009 Franklin County Court Judge Paul Herbert set up CATCH Court, a specialized docket seeking to provide structure and support to help women caught trafficking find their way to freedom and healing. Hannah Estabrook, co-author of the book "Beyond Desolate," is the Coordinator for CATCH Court and sits down to describe the lives of those who are caught in trafficking and the process of leading them out.   I find Hannah's heart and passion for working with these women beyond amazing.  Check out what CATCH Court is doing!   You can find Hannah's book here: 
April 25, 2019
Recovering from Toxic Friendships, navigating high school vibes, and coping after a close friendship "breaks up"
In this week's conversation, I sit down with a friend from home and hashed out the painful recovery of a friendship gone bad.  This is a difficulty that unfortunately many of us experience at least once in a lifetime.     When it comes to dealing with family adversity, addiction and so on - safe, healthy, compassionate friends are an absolute must.  Some of us have experienced loss and letdown in this area, while struggling in family circumstances...which is a heartache that is almost unbearable.  As well, many of us have been the toxic one a time or two ourselves, let's be fair.  Listen in as we compare how each of us have dealt with friends, enemies, hate-vibes, and doing the work to heal life in areas that are social saturated!
April 18, 2019
DBT therapy Part 2
The conclusion to last week's conversation, "What is DBT therapy?"  This is one of my favorite conversations with Lisa Bond, RN and DBT Solututions Specialist, as we look into the creation of DBT decades ago by Dr. Marsha Linehan who came out in 2017 to the NY Times about her own struggle with mental health, suicidal attemtps and time spend locked in a seclusion room of a mental hospital.   Dr. Linehan made a full recovery, vowing to return for others who with the same overwhelming mental and emotional struggles. DBT was created for those who needed something a bit more besides therapy and medical treatment. It's a powerful, encouraging, validating process that can transform just about any life in upheaval. I share a few personal experiences, as well as ask Lisa how DBT might help some true case examples - such as a young adult struggling in addiction, a young woman who has been trafficked and traumatized, those who have hair trigger emotions, affected family members and so on.   Lots of hope for anyone distressed themselves or struggling alongside a suffering loved one! Lisa Bond, RN can be found on:  and reached personally at: 
April 11, 2019
What's DBT? With Lisa Bond, RN and DBT Solutions Specialist Pt. 1
In this episode Part 1 of the two part series, Lisa Bond, RN and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Specialist explains the DBT method of treatment.  DBT is found to be efficient and highly effective for those experiencing emotional distress, conflict issues, borderline personality, suicidal ideation, C-PTSD, trauma, and addiction. Listen to the first part of this podcast series to hear Lisa describe how DBT helps in moments where one might need to breathe and come back down from 60 to 0, whether child, teen or adult.  I share some personal experiences with it's effectiveness.  DBT is a gift for anyone seeking peace and health, or as a referral source for someone sideline to a loved ones struggle.  I personally became an advocate for DBT while studying it and quickly applying it's principles to my own life.  I cannot recommend Lisa Bond, and the DBT process enough as an amazing ingredient to anyone's healing, recovery or health and wellness process!  It WORKS. Lisa Bond can be found on her page:  Check her out!
April 04, 2019
Divorced but not Divided, recovery conversation (remixed)
(Remixed after last episode had a glitch) This week's conversation (re-released) is with my ex-husband, "Moose." We open up about both our family backgrounds, as well as mistakes made and lessons learned while trying to co-parent a child who later fell into addiction after a sports injury. Taken from Chapter 18 of my 2nd book, "Unbroken, Navigating the Madness of Family Dysfunction, Addiction, Alcoholism, and Heartache" we discuss what ground rules we set up a few years into our divorce to reduce stress and turmoil for our son. Each of us describe experiences during what can easily be referred to as "the Darkest Years," involving family dysfunction, chaos, conflict, untreated family disease, and the struggles along the way. I describe the evidence of recovery in my own life in a recent situation, one that required me to go from 60 to 0 in relation to my family's deeply ingrained toxic conflict patterns. Peace, health and well-being are a process. No one gets it right all the time. Our son has come so very far. This is not because he had a fairy tale beginning, or parents who were anywhere close to perfect (not a chance). One reason he has found wellness is because we tried as a unit do the work to heal and recover. Setting conflict aside, and dropping the weapons to unite for the common goal of a son or daughter's well-being eliminates a lot of secondary problems. The whole system has to change when it comes to one person's recovery, that gives them the best chance possible. Where we are now is a million miles from where we were and that's proof positive that regardless what you come from, or how bad it gets - an amazing life is POSSIBLE. 
April 01, 2019
Toxic coworkers, bosses and work settings and how recovery/therapeutic concepts apply - with My Brother's Friend Ben!
Most of us have have had coworkers or bosses that we didn't see eye-to-eye with.  Some of us have even experienced it to a toxic degree, with coworkers or bosses who bully, manipulate, lie, slack off, blame... etc.   Professional dysfunction can be especially taxing if we are simultaneously going through a hard time personally with a family member struggling with addiction, alcoholism, or mental/emotional health. This week's Unhooked conversation covers stories of navigating toxic coworkers, bosses and work environments with My Brother's Friend Ben again! 
March 21, 2019
"Stories from Sullivan" with Dr. Patricia Strach and Dr. Katie Zuber
This weeks conversation is with Dr. Patricia Strach, and Dr. Katie Zuber, from the Rockefeller Institute of Government, out of Albany New York.  Both are at work on a project in Sullivan County, New York called "Stories from Sullivan," where they are meeting with families in a town ravaged by the opiate epidemic.   Once known as the place to go for great health, Sullivan was a vacation spot, a much loved escape for families vacationing from the busy city.  But as airplanes and air conditioning became more prevalent, the people of that area withdrew and fell prey to the epidemic that is affecting us all. Listen in to hear about their discoveries, the great impact being made for families, and please check them out on their website:  
March 14, 2019
Introduction to Unhooked (a brief presentation of my family's story)
In this short clip, I shared the CliffsNotes version of my family's experience with addiction and mental health.  This presentation was with Peace UMC.  We are six years into our recovery journey, the memories almost seem like someone else's story. We've come so far, more than a million miles! That's possible for anyone.  There is hope for any family to rise from the depths of addiction, despair and dysfunction. (Note: the episode will end just before the Q & A with those in attendance.)  Check out my families story in Unhooked!  Read about our recovery journey in Unbroken!   Follow me Annie Highwater, Recovery Writer on Facebook!
March 07, 2019
"High Conflict Personalities" with My Brother's Friend, Ben Again!
My Brother's Friend, Ben is back in this week conversation about High Conflict Personality Disorder.   HCP applies to those who seem to live for, and thrive in constant conflict.  We both give examples of experiencing it, being in the wrong ourselves when it comes to conflict and drama, and what might make for peaceful living when you have to do life around this type of person.   Is rudeness conflict?  And what about people who ridicule others? Interesting info this week!  
February 28, 2019
She Recovers! Creator Dawn Nickel
Because I personally have been inspired by her story and social media presence, I invited today’s guest on to share her amazing work. Dawn Nickel is the creator of She Recovers, the largest recovery community on Facebook, and has been in recovery since 1987.      Dawn is dedicated to creating and holding space (online and off) for women in recovery to connect with themselves, and with other like-hearted women. She is trained as a professional recovery coach and also works as a research consultant in the areas of mental health, addiction and intimate partner violence.   Listen in as Dawn brings the recovery this week in a conversation full of real, raw (sometimes funny) truths and stories of openness and awakening that hit home; whether you are in recovery yourself, or the affected parent, or family member of someone who is.    SO much great information in this conversation! You can find Dawn Nickel at She Recovers on Facebook or online:
February 21, 2019
Nadine Machkovech
I was personally impacted by the story of hope that this week's guest shared from the Tedx stage.  I also love that when you search her on the internet, the first website that comes up has the message: “YOU ARE ENOUGH” in huge letters!  25 year-old Nadine Machkovech is a certified recovery coach and person in long-term recovery. As an educator on addiction and mental health, she is on a mission to positively disrupt the current landscape for adolescents, especially young women, across the country.  In a world where "millennials" are often dismissed as selfish, entitled and oppositional, Nadine is blazing a respectable trail.  Today, Nadine is dedicated to building a life centered around self-care, service, and reconnecting others to their greater purpose in life.   She is also the Chief of Operations of RISE TOGETHER , a grassroots non-profit organization that exists to ignite a movement of hope that is saving lives.   Listen in as Nadine courageously shares her strength and encouraging take on recovery.  Her rise from addiction, to recovery, to a life abundantly lived is a gift for any young person and their family to hear! You can find Nadine at:
February 14, 2019
A&E's Interventionist Jeff Van Vonderen
This week's conversation is with someone who not only has his own Eminem lyric, but has also been featured in an episode of Southpark!   Author, motivational speaker, former pastor, and interventionist Jeff VanVonderen is best known for his appearances on A&E reality show Intervention.   Listen in as he unwraps SO MUCH interesting information, from addictions that are the most challenging to work with, to toxic church situations and spiritual abuse.  Van Vonderen has the perfection combination of a kind spirit with strong boundaries.   He shares great pearls of wisdom and just as he does on the show ~ will leave you feeling reflective, cared about and hopeful.  You can find his work or contact him at:
February 07, 2019
"Somebody's Someone" Singer Daphne Willis
This week's conversation is with talented singer, songwriter Daphne Willis! I first heard Daphne’s powerful song “Somebody‘s Someone” last year and could not stop listening. It has become an anthem for family members and loved ones of anyone struggling with addiction or mental illness. The lyrics ring true for those dearly missing a much loved family member. Listen in to hear Daphne’s story and how she creates deep lyrics out of real life experiences that we can all relate to.
January 31, 2019
Joe, my mentor and friend
This week's conversation is with one of my own recovery mentors and good friend, Joe.   A few years ago I found myself "in the rooms," where I met who is now one of my all-time favorite people. Joe looks like a biker with a ZZ Top beard, and has an amazing way of saying profound truths at just the right moment.   His statements are simple, yet powerfully impactful.  It's been my privilege to witness Joe facilitate family groups—always reminding people who and what we can control, that there's SO much to be grateful for, and feeling sorry for yourself is not a great option! Listen in to Joe tell his own story of recovery  which involved waking up and finding peace in the midst of family turmoil.   Thanks for everything, Joe!  My life is better because you're in it. For support:
January 24, 2019
This week's conversation brings the recovery with my friend Amanda.  Amanda discovered Al Anon some years back after realizing her marriage was in trouble due to her husbands excessive drinking and the chaos it caused personally, and professionally.  Looking back over her experiences and awakening, she shares rich truths that those who have been in these depths will understand.     Listen in to this week's real, raw, ENCOURAGING conversation!
January 17, 2019
Grief's a B*tch! Blogger, Advocate and Author Susan Furniss
If you or someone you know have ever experienced loss so sudden, shocking, and deeply felt that it took your breath, and kept it...this is the episode to hear.  Author Susan Furniss describes living through the loss of a daughter, husband and one of her dearest friends within a short span of time.  Her grief was so overwhelming at times she had to leave the grocery store before checking out.   Susan has written "Beneath the Surface. Grief." as a love letter for anyone walking the heavy road of mourning. Each page has relatable, short and easy to read passages and prose that provide comfort, encouragement and validation. Her newly released book is a perfect gift for yourself, or someone you care about if you don't quite know what to say.   Listen to this conversation to hear great suggestions, soothing assurances and information that we can all apply at some point.  GREAT episode!
January 10, 2019
Katie Hamilton
This week's conversation is with one of the sweetest women I have ever encountered.  Katie Hamilton, the now ex-wife of American League MVP baseball player Josh Hamilton.   Katie shares her story of finding strength and hope in her faith in the aftermath of a painful divorce from a marriage she poured her heart and soul into, and how she still cherishes the good within him.   Despite being a bewildered passenger on the rollercoaster of addiction, Katie learned to be strong, to stand up for herself, and to speak openly about their trials in an effort to find a way out of them.  Listen in as she shares from a place of kindness and compassion about the power of forgiveness, faith, hope and above all else—love.   An encouraging episode for anyone needing a reminder to never give up!
January 03, 2019
My Brother's Friend Ben
This week's conversation is with lifelong family friend Ben.   In order to be as open and real with listeners, as all of my guests are, I feel that sharing my own story, as I have with Ben over the years, would be a great way to open up my life and give highlights from my own personal journey of family recovery.    Listen in as Ben and I discuss his first impression of coming to my  family's home when I was a confused, highly stressed teenager with a great big chip on my shoulder.  Ben describes what he thought of the extreme religious conversations he was first introduced to by my family in those days, and how it led to years of study of psychology, faith and stoicism.  Great conversation with "my brother's friend, Ben!"  
December 27, 2018
Lisa Romano, Breakthrough Life Coach
Have you ever experienced a “smear campaign” led by a once trusted partner, friend, or family member? It can feel suffocating. Those who join in against you add overwhelming confusion and pain. Everything you do to try to defend yourself and bring an end to it, seems to only make it worse! So what CAN you do? This is an amazing part of this week's podcast with Breakthrough Life Coach Lisa Romano! Along with that, learn how dysfunctional childhood homes create codependency. You don't have to spend your life walking around on eggshells, feeling invisible, unimportant, or unworthy. Lisa has great suggestions for overcoming a toxic, codependent lifestyle. She describes her own revelation about being "codependent, not crazy." We discuss narcissists, narcissism versus Aspberger's, and female narcissists who seem like your very best friend. Ending with an example of a “Splitter,” which is someone who bonds and feels safe by dividing and manipulating people. Lisa's work has been instrumental in healing my life. I loved this conversation! You can find Lisa on Youtube, Facebook and on her website:
December 20, 2018
Tiffany Jenkins from "Juggling the Jenkins!!!"
I love her videos SO much and I'm pretty sure we are now best friends! Tiffany Jenkins was so gracious and kind to share in this week's conversation how she has a life better than she could have planned for. As funny as she is, Tiffany is serious when it comes to addiction, mental health and all things recovery. She has a direct message of hope and strength to ANYONE struggling. Sometimes all it takes for a breakthrough when your life needs to heal - is a small glimmer of hope. Had Tiffany not believed in her darkest moments that life getting better was possible, none of us would even know of her hilarious videos. Hers is a life that was rebuilt by hope! If you or anyone you know is in need of a solid message of recovery, triumph and GREAT hope, listen to this week's episode!
December 13, 2018
Lara Frazier, a True Story of Healing and Hope
Almost daily I hear from parents, partners and family members who think their loved one might be too far gone in addiction, or too deep in a drug induced psychosis to ever have a normal life. Well, it just does not get better than Lara Frazier when it comes to giving hope that life CAN be fully recovered! In this week's conversation Lara shares her rise from the ashes of addiction into a life that is thriving. Hers is a story of beautiful transformation! From living in her car (as her Dad walked the streets of L.A. searching for her, carrying her picture) to now living a sober, joyful, abundant life. Lara recovers out loud, openly sharing how the love of her family ran parallel to addiction's grip, guiding her to the decision to recover. Listen in to this week's episode that is overflowing with information and HOPE! You can meet Lara on: where she has an open letter to parents of an addicted loved one. So much hope!
December 06, 2018
Mary Burns, Author of the soon to be released book "Saving Eric"
This week's conversation is with Mary Burns, Author of the soon to be released book "Saving Eric," which details how her adopted son became addicted—and the lengths to which she went trying to save him. Mary explains the strong, loving bond they shared, that for her was no different than her bond with her biological child. Sadly, after years of struggle and desperate efforts to help him, Eric lost his battle with addiction and died from an overdose on February 17, 2012. Mary now works to advocate for families impacted by addiction and loss. In a matter-of-fact way, she shares her family's struggle, describes the early days after Eric's passing, and tells where she turns with her grief. I share with her three hope-filled, definitions of the word "Departure" as it relates to death, something comforting I have read many times myself during grief and loss. This is an impactful conversation that only those who have come through deep sorrow may truly understand.
November 29, 2018
Brooke Wilkerson, Creator of the Coffee and Chaos Blog
I love her blog, her personality, her accent and I LOVE that she has come on the podcast. This week's conversation is with Brooke Wilkerson, Creator of "The Coffee and Chaos Blog!" No family is perfect. Are any even..."normal"? We all have our difficulties when it comes to family members. Even more so when our the dynamics have been saturated with dysfunction, addictions, conflict, or periods of silence and separation. However, we can still be kind, loving and even have peace in the midst of chaos. In this episode, Brooke Wilkerson and I discuss the family dynamics that led us both to repeat cycles of dysfunction, even the ones we despised. She describes how the decision to address the messy stuff changes the trajectory of a family, making it easier for our kids to choose healthy lives. Listen in as Brooke gives personal insight about handling the tough times of life and family with grace, dignity and humor!
November 22, 2018
Sherry Gaba talks codependency and being addicted to relationships
Nothing better than an expert opening up about how they too are human and can find themselves in struggle, just like the rest of us. Listen to this episode as Sherry Gaba - seen on Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab; LCSW, Certified Recovery Coach and author of "The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery" and "The Marriage and Relationship Junkie: Kicking your Obsession" tells how our earliest moments of life can perpetuate a rhythm in relationships. Sherry tells of the insidiousness of addiction in a relationship that can make even the experts go to great lengths and repeat destructive patterns (sometimes for years) trying to fix what's broken.
November 15, 2018
Abigail - A story of marriage, codependency, and control
Have you ever watched someone spend year after year in an unhappy relationship or marriage, believing he or she will likely never break free and have the life they deserve? In this episode, Abigail shares her story of waking up after spending decades in an odd, chaotic, and often terrifyingly dysfunctional marriage to a controlling, emotionally fragile alcoholic. Abigail calmly recounts what woke her up and the steps she took to break free. She now lives a life of peace, rejoicing in her newfound freedom - which includes dressing how she chooses, drinking cappuccino whenever she likes, doing "normal" things and not having repetitive feuds with family, friends or neighbors. Listen to this interesting tale of a woman who is finally free.
November 08, 2018
Brenda and Mark Stewart from TAPU (The Addicts Parents United)
From finding their way into "the rooms" as a result of addiction presenting in the first of Brenda's two sons, Mark and Brenda Stewart hit the ground running in their own emotional recovery, stability, and marriage. They then came full-circle to launch one of the nations largest, most well-respected online family support communities. Listen in as the Stewarts open their story to give rich insight about coming together as a blended family, managing the disease of addiction in the midst of that, and healing your way forward as a strong family unit. Mark and Brenda share great information and encouragement for families facing adversity, and give powerful tips for how to navigate those tough times in healthy unity. Closing the episode with strong perspective about Ohio's Constitutional Amendment, Issue 1 (the drug amendment). So much information, strength and encouragement to glean in this episode!
November 04, 2018
Dan Skinner, PhD on Ohio's Issue 1 - the Drug Issue
It’s difficult to be unaware of the current condition of our culture, we are in a crisis of addiction as well as mental health. In fact, this week’s front page news featured coverage of a rally for depression and suicide. We have people jumping off parking garages! There is daily coverage about opioids, addiction and overdose numbers. Nationally, locally…we are in crisis. Today’s conversation focuses on a related topic that is daily making news in Ohio - Issue 1. Dr. Dan Skinner is Assistant Professor of Health Policy at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, in the Department of Social Medicine, on the Dublin, Ohio campus. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from the City University of New York. Dr. Skinner teaches and researches about U.S health policy, and is active in health policy advocacy, especially in areas of health care access and health care reform for vulnerable and underserved populations. Listen in as Dr. Skinner gives us compassionate details of what Issue 1 involves and how it will effect families in the State of Ohio.
November 03, 2018
"Dreamland" Author Sam Quinones
In this episode, I have the privilege of deep diving into the NY Best-selling book "Dreamland, the True Tale of Americas Opiate Epidemic," with the Author, Sam Quinones. Sam generously shares his rich experiences writing the book - from researching Mexican cartel trafficking (and their obsession with Levi's 501 jeans), to interviewing drug dealers in prisons who were open and raw with their stories, to getting to know the despair of family members impacted by a Loved Ones addiction. Sam paints the vivid picture of how the closing of community pools such as Dreamland (the books namesake) in Portsmouth, Ohio contributed to the gathering storm of what has become our countries worst drug epidemic in history. We discuss the dynamics of family members being as addicted to rescuing their sons and daughters, as those in active use are addicted to painkillers, heroin, opiates and other chemicals. Hearing Sam feels like listening to an old friend describe years of family and community stories that hit right to the heart of all of us. Dreamland is a book everyone should read, and this is an episode everyone should hear!!
November 01, 2018
Asst. Fire Chief Christopher Menapace
What should a police officer or fireman say when someone walks in desperate for help for an addicted loved one? Should they break out the handcuffs? Administer a drug test? Shame the struggling person or family member? Should they say "Nothing." ? Listen in as Firefighter/Paramedic and Assistant Chief Chris Menapace talks openly in this episode about the opiate epidemic as it relates to his work in the Whitehall, Ohio Firehouse. He shares profound stories from the front lines of this epidemic. Asst. Chief Menapace offers passionate ideas for saving lives and reversing the overdose numbers. I also share a traumatic experience I had once had when, in a moment of despair, I walked into a police station asking someone to please help my family. (Thank goodness as a culture we have come a long way since that day when it comes to showing compassion for families dealing with addiction.) I am so excited about what this Ohio Fire Department is doing! From developing a "SAFE Station" Program where anyone wanting help, detox, or treatment can walk into this fire station and have that ball set in motion, to the WHO (Whitehall's Help for Overdoses) Program; Chris and his department are opening their doors, blazing a trail and doing what I believe every firehouse should consider. So much information and and encouragement for affected families. We're making noticeable progress in Ohio—the heart of it all!
October 25, 2018
Dr. Anahi Ortiz, Columbus Ohio's Franklin County Coroner
Is it weird to say that I am our local Coroner's biggest fan? Dr. Anahi Ortiz is interesting, open, kind, and as sharp as one would expect. The native New Yorker opens up to us about what led her to this work, where overdoses are happening around the city, what fuels drug trafficking (social media ?), how she separates herself from the stress of all she sees, and what hope we have as a community. Tune in for the fact-filled, anything but dreary conversation!
October 18, 2018
Ruth, a "recovering family member" has spent years working a program to heal and recover from the effects of the alcoholism and addiction in those around her. She shares her tumultuous story of overcoming patterns of family madness, and relationship choices that led her to relationships with the same alcoholic types of men. Ruth lays the groundwork for how she came out of it, and gives hope that we all can come out of our patterns and pathologies to live lives that are happy, joyous and free!
October 07, 2018
Beau Addiction Nonfiction
Beau openly shares his experience with an addicted daughter, and how the madness of her life was his "ticket" into the rooms of support. Hear this once desperate father's take on what recovery can do for a family in crisis.
October 07, 2018